Sports

Magnani thrives in sophomore season

Union file photo

Jordan Magnani (12) drives past Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Matthew Mims during his time as a Mt. Pleasant Panther.
Union file photo Jordan Magnani (12) drives past Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Matthew Mims during his time as a Mt. Pleasant Panther.

MOUNT VERNON — After winning newcomer of the year in his freshman season, Mt. Pleasant graduate Jordan Magnani had another big year for Cornell College. The 2018 Mt. Pleasant graduate averaged 14 points and 4.3 rebounds per game this year, all while leading the team with 92 assists, 24 steals and 51 made 3-pointers.

Magnani and the Rams improved to 14-12 this season after going 6-19 this season. He was honored with a Coaches’ Appreciation Award following his sophomore season.

“We had a great group of guys this year,” Magnani says. “We were picked eighth in the conference and ended up being fourth. We had a very tough schedule at the end of the year, had a couple of overtime games, and we got into the conference tournament.”

Magnani was especially effective in the last four games of the season. He averaged 19 points over the Rams’ final four games, including a shot at the buzzer to beat Beloit College in overtime and send the Rams into the conference tourney.

Magnani had multiple buzzer-beaters on the year. He also forced overtime against Lawrence University in mid-February converted a 3-point play in the final 10 seconds against Monmouth College. The Rams would split those two games.

“We really didn’t call a set play or anything,” Magnani says. “It was just kind of in the moment. I walk it up and we run our pick-and-roll stuff. I’ve always thought ‘if I can attack, attack.’”

Cornell’s last week of the regular season included four games, three of which went into overtime. One of those, the Lawrence game, went into double overtime. After dropping the game against Lawrence, the Rams had to win their next three games to make the Midwest Conference tournament.

“I was tired. I was dragging along with everyone else, but it was fun,” Magnani says. “It was some of the most fun I’ve had playing basketball.”

Magnani was also made a team captain this year. His father has been a coach at the collegiate level, and his older brother is getting into coaching as well. Magnani says he could see himself being in that role in the future.

“I was actually supposed to coach an AAU team this summer,” Magnani says. “Due to COVID, that kind of fell apart, but I was really looking forward to it. Being a captain shows that you could do some good for some younger guys and their futures.”

Magnani and the Rams should be a force in the MWC next season. The Rams have no seniors, meaning they will bring back the entire core that helped Cornell pick up the fourth seed in the MWC tournament, including Magnani, who has two more years of eligibility.